Facebook announced to its partners that in the next two to three weeks, the "Become a Fan" concept for branded pages will be replaced with the more prevalent "Like" button and brands will no longer accumulate "Fans," but "Connections" instead.
This change narrows the list of actions available to Facebook fans, and consolidates the bulk of interactions fans will have with brand content to "Like," "Comment" and "Share." Brands will still be able to communicate with opt-in users on a regular basis, but only users who have "liked" their page itself -- not just one of their updates.
The change also affects engagement ads -- the "Become a Fan" verbiage will disappear, being replaced by the simple "Like" button and thumbs up icon.
How Does This Affect Marketers? The most significant effect of the change will be the effect on marketers running engagement ads. "Liking" content comes far more naturally to the average Facebook user than becoming a fan of content, meaning that users will be more inclined to click on an ad that invites them to "Like" a brand than one that asks them to "Become a Fan" of a brand.
The language shift strengthens the value proposition of Facebook engagement ads as a method for driving fan growth, and will likely increase the number of users who arrive on a page who will subscribe to that page's updates (by "Liking" the page).
Marketers should not rely on Facebook to effectively message the change to fans, and where appropriate should update their editorial calendar accordingly, letting users know that even if they can no longer be "Fans" of a brand, they'll still be treated like fans regardless. Marketers who have integrated Facebook with their other online environments should be sure that their creative has the correct verbiage: "Find us on Facebook!" still works, but "Become a Fan On Facebook" will begin to seem dated and irrelevant .
I think this new action should work nicely to a brands advantage, as users are more likely to click on a "Like" link rather than "Become a fan". Liking something and being a fan are very different things, so this new language change initiative may work nicely for brands out there trying to engage with users.
This may be good from the marketers standpoint, but what about the billion users out there?? How will they feel when they discover the can no longer be a 'fan' and instead have to settle for just 'like'?